for localization managers
Localization Style Guide Best Practices
How to write a style guide translators will actually read
It's actually easier to write a good style guide than a bad one. Good style guides are concise, to the point, and easy to maintain. Here's how we do it.
- Style guides are living documents. The best place to story them is online, in something like Google Docs, for example. Easy to update, easy to share.
- The best style guides have bold section headings, and concise descriptions.
- App name
- Product names
- Job titles
- A style guide works best with real-word examples.
Successful style guides are language-specific.
Start with an English style guide for all translators, but adapt it to each language. Your style guide will be “universal” but also “specific” to the languages.french
use informal speech
Customers should be addressed in vous, but language should still be friendly and informal.
Nouveau client ? Commencez ici. NOT Si vous êtes nouveau client, commencez ici.
Informal speech might mean something different in French versus, say, Spanish. In Spanish, the verb tense must be informal, but as in the above French example, the verb tense is technically formal but the language is still informal. These kinds of subtleties must sometimes be addressed on a per-language level.
- Pro tip Add a change log to your style guide!
For the most part, you should translate everything you see. There are, of course, some exceptions, because we don't always want to translate certain things because of trademarks or because we advertise them. These may include, but are not limited to, things like app names and product names. So, for example, we wouldn't want…
In most cases we prefer informal writing when talking to customers.
¡Compra ahora¡ NOT Compre ahora
Hola Juan NOT Estimado cliente Juan Delgado
Translators will read a style guide before the first job, but as you make changes and additions, it’s hard to motivate translators to re-read the guide. We suggest you include on the first page of the style guide a change log of what has been updated along with the date.20 feb App name may be transliterated in Hindi only.
Each time you do this, I further suggest the changes be visible in a different color, so the translators can read the new style guide information quickly.
Adding a Style Guide to your Babble-on localization projects
Because we think style guides are important for large projects and brands with a unique identity, we've made it easy to add them. Follow these tips from your Babble-on dashboard.
- Log in to your Dashboard in the Babble-on developer portal
- Select Style Guides in the sidebar to edit an existing or add a new style guide.
- Choose the language for the style guide, or English for it to be visible to all translators. Then paste in your link and press the Add Guide button.
- That's it! You can update the link by editing the URL and tapping Update. Remove a style guide entirely by pressing Delete guide .
How much does it cost to include style guides?
They're free of course! We only charge you per-word for translations. Everything else we do is all included and at no extra charge.
- Native translators
- Obsessively detailed
- Simple pricing
- Lightening-fast updates for your help center
- Help editing your English texts
- QA assistance